How Support Should Say “No” to Customers

A customer should be treated like a guest. We aren’t supposed to say “no” to guests. Well, but what if we have to?

Customers are always right, right? Not really. What you need is to understand: refusing or declining a statement or request does not relate to the person you communicate with. It can be difficult, some companies even carve it in their policy. Though, sometimes it’s much better to put out your “no”.

Here are some important points to pay attention to.

  1. More details!

    It’s more often than not that the customers are just dissatisfied in general, sometimes not even with your service in particular. In this case, thinking of the reason and not finding it might be quite, well, reasoning. If that’s not the case – carefully ask about the sharp edges. Something like: “Would you be so kind to provide a bit more feedback, so that we could improve to meet your requirements?” Or it may look like: “We would gladly forward your request to the development team so that they knew where to upgrade, could you please give more details?” That’s 1 shot 2 hits: you drag some attention away from their negativity, and “hand in the power” to them – and a strong person cannot be offended with trifles, right? And after all, the customer might be just looking the wrong FAQ page, and you’ll be the guiding light.

  2. You shall be heard!

    Quite so. Let them know: they are heard, their emotions are taken into account, and their requirements will be taken care of (or at least understood). “Got you. I’ve just sent a note to the management, we will follow up with you on this. Thank you for your feedback!” It is also important to make sure to do follow up. So don’t forget to collect their relevant contact info.

    And if it’s definitely something you can’t do for them – stick to the truth and let them know.

  3. Honesty is the best policy

    Continuing the previous thought: if it is a “no go” – it is a “no go”. Don’t intrigue people, neither give them false hope. A dissatisfied person is one thing, but deceived and disappointed social media sharks and their readers/viewers/followers can be the last thing want to face. And also think of how good can it turn out when you finally implement what they wanted a month ago, and follow up on that.

  4. Make it positive

    It’s not always possible, but some cases might be handled without even using a negative answer. There are ways out, there are alternatives, reasons to do something different/better… At least worth trying, right?

  5. Don’t pretend you are regretting

    Words like “Unfortunately”, “As much as we would love to…”, “We have to but admit that it is impossible”… It can sometimes make me angry even without obvious reasons for that. When I’m contacting the Support, I am sure that they understand and realize the issue exists, and I’m not the “one in a million”. So when they are trying to walk me around the pit — I’m most likely to wonder why it even exists.

And generally — stay true to yourself. If it’s not the turning point of your life or career — never hesitate to say “no”. Be confident and calm. And don’t forget to say it right.


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